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Syria, Resolution 2042, a true win for humanitarian intervention

Joshua Goldstein wrote a whole book to explain that our world today, despite the seemingly endless number of crisis, is in fact the least brutal it has ever been. He concluded with empirical evidence that U.N. peacekeepers, as neutral third parties on the ground, have been stopping tribal factions from fighting and escalating violence. That form of humanitarian intervention works, because it stops blood feuds. An example of intervention where I think does not work is the recent NATO bombing of the Quadhafi ruling faction in Libya in support of the rebels taking power. In fact, such transition incurs further violence and bloodshed. I fear the possibility of the two factions killing each other has in fact been heightened, perhaps in an even more inhumane way at a future time. Such is the fine line between interventions, the humane ones versus the inhumane ones.

Resoluton 2042 on Syria has just passed in the U.N.. Peacekeepers will now be sent to the country to help ensure a ceasefire between the government and the rebels. Finally, this is a true win for real humanitarian intervention. The world deserves applause for this step. China Daily reports on why Russia and China rejected the previous resolutions:

China and Russia – both permanent members on the Council — joined the other 13 Council members and voted in favour of Resolution 2042. The two nations vetoed twice — in October and in February – resolutions on Syria, stating they supported to solve the Syria crisis through international dialogue instead of “regime change”.

Both also said the previous resolutions were unbalanced and didn’t address issues like attacks by rebel groups.
Li Baodong, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said after the vote that China always maintains that “the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the choice and will of the Syrian people should be respected”.

Li said the Syrian crisis should be resolved in “a just, peaceful and proper manner through political dialogue”, urging all parties, and the Syrian government and the opposition factions “to strictly honor their commitments to cease all acts of violence and create conditions for the launch of a Syria-led inclusive political process”.

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  1. April 15th, 2012 at 12:40 | #1

    Yes, military humanitarian intervention rarely works. It almost always makes the situation worse. It not only makes the situation worse by destabilizing the country after the invasion and occupation but through the violence it causes during the invasion and occupation.

    I see a lot of contradiction in many liberals inside the US when it comes to humanitarian interventions like in Libya and potentially Syria. Many liberals or progressive are against the death penalty because they think that the potential for mistake in the legal system is too great to allow it because a mistake will cause the capital punishment of an innocent person but they do not hesitate to wage deadly warfare and occupation on another country on even sparser evidential standards for burden of proof than it takes to convict someone innocent on a death penalty charge. In unjustly waged humanitarian wars, many people die innocently from not only direct intentional attacks but from civilians “collateral damage.” Furthermore, countries are destroyed. Lives, cultures and economies and so forth are damaged beyond repair. One would think that the evidential standards for burden of proof ought to beset much higher in waging humanitarian wars than even in the death penalty. Much much higher because of the more disastrous potential consequences because more innocent lives could be threatened. But many so called liberals and progressives will not hesitate to bomb brown people based nothing more than hearsay testimonies from a few refugees, politicians and the media which is almost always biased in support of military violence. Western liberals are often despicable hypocrites.

    Here’s another reason I think the rise of China is beneficial for world peace. China’s position on military humanitarian action is often set much higher than western countries. While in principle not against it (in fact, China has support an even engaged in humanitarian intervention) its standards are set at much higher standards.

  2. Joyce Lau
    April 15th, 2012 at 19:28 | #2

    What do you think would happen if America took the zillions of dollars — plus the enormous amount of manpower, effort and intelligence — it has spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and spent it all on aid instead?
    What would happen if — for the last decade — Iraq and Afghanistan were simply flooded with food, medicine, doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers? Some troops would be needed for safeguarding those aid workers, or maybe breaking through where aid is blocked. There might be some deaths, but nothing like what we’d seen.
    Would non-military aid have been enough? If the people were better fed and better educated, would they have overthrown Saddam themselves? Would they be less prone to joining terrorist groups and letting the Taliban run their lives?
    Or is it naive to think that brutal regimes can be toppled with such gentle measures?
    Just a hypothetical question.

  3. raventhorn
    April 15th, 2012 at 19:55 | #3

    @Joyce Lau

    “Or is it naive to think that brutal regimes can be toppled with such gentle measures?”

    Or is it naive to think that toppling “brutal regimes” by brutal means will result in gentler less hostile people in foreign lands?

    When America spends “zillions of dollars” on a display of brutality to “topple”, the ONLY lesson learned in the world is still a lesson of brutality as the ONLY solution.

    When America clearly ONLY respects brutality, power, influence, greed, what does it expect other nations to learn?

  4. Lime
    April 16th, 2012 at 02:51 | #4

    @Joyce Lau
    It seems to me that the method you’re describing has been tried frequently before; North Korea for example receives aid from the US and other countries intermittently (though of course never coming close to equaling the cost of Iraq war). The problem is that as long as the brutal regime is still in power, they can control the aid and use it as they see fit, so it only serves to solidify their power. In the cases of Gaddaffi, Saddam Hussein, and Bashar al-Assad, it’s hard to imagine that they could have been or could be removed except with violence brought from within or without their state.

  5. April 16th, 2012 at 07:48 | #5

    @Joyce Lau
    You are actually bring up a subject matter that is beyond the scope of a short respond. As to your suggestion that after the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US were to use 90% of the allocation for those wars into peaceful developmental aid. I would have to say the outcome would be vastly different and we will not see the scenario we see today. A society with education, healthcare, employment, security, and above all hope will not resort to suicidal attacks. On top of that, any violence element would be securely weakened as they would be hard press to find recruits. $500/month would be more than enough to give a comfortable living to a family of 5 in those area. Simply do the math and see the opportunity lost.

    In many ways, China was a basket case society in 1940s. The country was bogged down with war, extreme poverty, illiteracy etc. Most of the country side not under KMT or CCP control was plagued by bandits. The CCP solution was actually by giving the poor and destitute a piece of land to toil. The whole population’s outlook was totally transformed. Of course that’s another long story. The Palestinian issue can only be solved in a similar way too.

  6. April 16th, 2012 at 07:51 | #6

    @Lime
    You seems to have a total blindspot by not mentioning the government of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen that also fall under the same category. Instead the US armed those governments to the teeth. Practising double standard while encouraging pro-US dictatorship is one of the main causes of 911.

  7. jxie
    April 16th, 2012 at 11:05 | #7

    @Lime

    There are a plethora of problems with this viewpoint. Will just list a couple:

    * Why Iraq, Libya, and Syria? If just go by the oppressiveness of the regime, judged solely by the prevailing Western standards, which are quite dubious BTW, why not Congos, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Somalia, and Sudan, heck even Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan? Or dare I say Cuba? Who chose them for you? The key seems to be oil. Syria is a prelude to Iran. Iran, Libya and Syria are all top 10 nations with proven oil reserves. Why are we talking about Syria now instead of say Equatorial Guinea? Who are the opposition in Syria? (Why and what?) Who have been funding them?

    * War is a whole lot more brutal than almost all regimes in the world. Iraqis’ life expectancy had gone down some 3 years from “Mission Accomplished” to very recently, compared to the steady rise of 8 years since the end of the Iraq-Iran War. Behind the numbers are millions of people whose lives have been negatively affected and — people just like you and me. We have hardly heard their testimonies but rather we have been spoon-fed with the half truths to even myths of Saddam Hussein gassing his own people, Uday Hussein raping and torturing, etc.

  8. Charles Liu
    April 16th, 2012 at 11:48 | #8

    @Joyce Lau

    Do you think the UN should have invaded US to topple the brutal apartheid regime back in the 60’s? Or should US sovereignty, American’s people’s right to be free from foreign influence, be respected?

    In retrospect, was Libya better off? Was Iraq better off? Was Afghanistan better off? How about Egypt, where vast majority of the 81 million citizen’s right to stable functioning society was violate by few protesters with foreign paymaster such as the International Republican Institute?

    Think back, was South America better off with US intervention during Reagan? Think back farther, how about Iran when its democratically elected government was toppled by UK/US and installed the Shah?

  9. April 16th, 2012 at 16:41 | #9

    yinyang, brutality is something that everyone wants to avoid. But the elimination of brutality to me does not necessarily equate to peace or justice. If brutality is the measure by which we measure justice, then the truly just solution is for the Western powers to colonize the whole world – at least the place that can be easily colonized without too much brutality – and enforce their laws and system upon the natives. The West – freed again to commit colonialism – will no doubt reduce conflicts in many parts of their colonies.

    The struggle for power may result in conflicts, but that struggle may not necessarily be bad, if the struggle means the lack of a hegemonic imposition that no one wants.

    The reduction of brutality that Goldstein observes in many parts of the world has more to do with enforcement of (unwelcomed in my view) hegemonic power than anything else. It is more short-sighted than anything else.

    Of course, fighting and brutality per se does not necessarily lead to progress; they may only mean perpetuation of a cycle of violence. But at least the people are free to evolve, to determine their fate.

    @Joyce Lau

    Long-term independence do matter. Your solution, while sounding good, may be characterized simply as buying off a population – of a population selling their long term interests for food.

    What’s important in human welfare is not merely goods, it’s skills that make them independent. As the proverb has it, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

    @Lime

    The food given to North Korea has always been limited and is conditional on politics. The solution to the Korean peninsula problem is actually rather easy. The way to true prosperity for the Korean people is to achieve indepedence, and not be a client state of the U.S. From the perspective of the North, once America gets off the peninsula, the two Koreas can quickly reunify. The Korean people will be truly free again. Sure being a client state of the world’s sole super duper power has its advances, but as the relative power of the U.S. decreases, more and more people in Japan and S. Korea will come to understand what I just wrote.

  10. April 16th, 2012 at 17:30 | #10

    @Allen
    I guess my point is that if there is any intervention, taking sides politically and militarily as NATO has done in Libya, is in fact inhumane.

    But I do like your point – perhaps the ultimate truth ought to be that Syria is left completely alone, without Resolution 2042 imposing anything from the U.N. whatsoever.

  11. Lime
    April 16th, 2012 at 17:44 | #11

    @Allen
    You really think that the US withdrawing its support would lead directly to reunification? Perhaps if a second war occurred and the two states were allowed to fight it until one had completely subjugated the other, or if one collapsed like East Germany. From the North’s perspective, or rather its government’s, the South Korean state should be eliminated and the entire peninsula should be run like the north currently is. However the South Koreans feel about being a “US client state”, do you really think this would be an acceptable solution? If you were South Korean would you be in favour of this?

    The other reply I would like to make is to the first part of your comment about colonialism. Your point about the undesirability of hegemonic interference is well taken, but the discussions about Tibet and Taiwan taking place on this blog and elsewhere have, if nothing else, made it clear that natural boundaries between nations can be pretty fuzzy if they exist at all, and likewise, the difference between a colony and a minority region in a large state can be open to interpretation. So, in my opinion, merely removing the force perceived as hegemonic or colonial is not necessarily sufficient to make the life of any individual freer, safer, or better by any other measure. Whether my village is controlled by a government whose center of power is one hundred miles or one thousand miles away may make little practical difference to me and my pursuit of happiness.

  12. April 16th, 2012 at 22:25 | #12

    @Lime

    If we don’t respect the notion of a nation state – then I agree with you – it’s everything goes.

    Whenever the central gov’t anywhere in the world makes an unpopular mandate, some minority (not necessarily ethnic minority, just some who don’t agree) will claim foul.

    That’s politics from time immemorial…

    And whoever takes power – the cycle goes on. In the case of Tibet (based on our conversation throughout the years, I am guessing that’s one thing you are getting at), for example, if DL takes over, then we will get factionism of the different sects – just like before. There will be minorities that claim I want to make my own decision – if not on geography grounds, then some other, perhaps ethnic, religious, sectarian, whatever.

    Division upon division…. like an onion layer peeling after layer.

  13. Lime
    April 17th, 2012 at 02:58 | #13

    @Allen
    I absolutely agree; arguments for separatism can always be defeated through a reductio ad absurdum method. The part of your comment I was replying to though was your statement that you viewed the enforcement of hegemonic power as unwelcome, even in instances where it reduced brutality, because “at least the people are free to evolve, to determine their fate.”

    My point was that in Tibet, for example, just because the rulers are not Tibetan does not mean that an average person has a less happy or materially better off life. It seems to be just the opposite in fact. And if the Dalai Lama and his government were in still in charge of Tibet, would that make the average person any freer or more able to determine their fate? Probably not.

    Likewise, in North Korea, the rulers are ethnic Koreans, and are far more resistant to foreign influence than their South Korean counterparts. If you’re an average North Korean, maybe you can take some ethno-nationalist pride in your government’s independence, but does it make you any more materially well-off or in control of your fate compared to the average South Korean?

    You’re basically saying, “Well sure he’s a brutal dictator, but he’s THEIR brutal dictator”, and this really isn’t much different from the attitude the supporters of the Dalai Lama in Europe and America take. You’re placing the interests of nationalism ahead of the interests of the real inhabitants of these places.

  14. jxie
    April 17th, 2012 at 08:23 | #14

    @Lime
    If it’s rude to barge into a conversation between you and Allen with apparently historical context that I may not be fully aware of, my apology.

    Found myself mostly agree with your comment #13. This part of comment #11,

    Whether my village is controlled by a government whose center of power is one hundred miles or one thousand miles away may make little practical difference to me and my pursuit of happiness.

    The key here to me is, are you the equivalent of a “Cives Romani” in your country? For a minority with distinctive language, dialect, cultural and/or custom, if I buy into the dominant majority’s ways, at worst at birth, will I be a normal member of the society, i.e. free to marry anyone, move up the ladder in the society with no ceiling, etc.? I tend to think, in European colonies, as a non-European minority, you couldn’t; in China for the most part since antiquity, you would have been able to.

  15. April 17th, 2012 at 09:50 | #15

    @Lime

    You’re basically saying, “Well sure he’s a brutal dictator, but he’s THEIR brutal dictator”, and this really isn’t much different from the attitude the supporters of the Dalai Lama in Europe and America take. You’re placing the interests of nationalism ahead of the interests of the real inhabitants of these places.

    I don’t know where you get that I am placing the interest of nation ahead of real inhabitants. We simply have to different approaches to serving the people: you advocate division amongst people and a division of polities along a reductio ad absurdum based on some bigoted, narrow lens such as ethnicity and religion – along some contiguous land region – that somehow these governments will serve the people better. I on the other hand advocate unity of disparate peoples in an atmosphere of tolerance and multiculturalism – living in a large prosperous polity.

    You see self determination along ethnicity or religious lines, where I see it along national lines (at least for China, it’s my vision for China). Of course the multicultural approach does not necessary guarantee success. But division lead to many known bad effects, including division ad absurdum that we see proven in Tibetan history – and the tragedies that accompanied the partition of India and Pakistan.

    I see the multicultural approach as the future of China. That approach stands in stark contrast to your approach that has caused so many problems around the world. Take the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The Jews want their home land, the Palestinians want theirs. We get into a deadlock of who has better right to the land. The multicultural approach? The land belongs to both. We should have a one-state solution – a multicultural solution – where Jews and Palestinians live side by side, in a country that is neither Israel nor Palestine, but a combined polity that serves all – Jews and Muslims – as equals.

    China as a whole belongs to all of its ethnic groups. Regions that traditionally is populated by certain ethnic groups – as well as the many areas that are populated by multi-ethnic groups – belong to all groups. Of course, regions traditionally populated by certain groups with certain cultures should be allowed – even encouraged – to keep their distinction. These are colors that make up the tapestry of China.

    @jxie

    About the question whether Tibet is a “colony,” here is my take, taken from a private conversation (with minor edits) I had with some students recently.

    In light of this, I want to quickly follow up on your question whether Tibet is a “colony” of China and hence deserve political self-determination. I asked some rhetorical questions yesterday on what is a “colony” – such as if Tibet is a colony of Beijing, then should we consider most parts of Germany or France to be a colony of Berlin or Paris? Must self determination be applied on a religious, ethnicity basis – along a mountain range, island, county, or province level?

    My short take is this: I don’t think a region of a nation can be considered a colony if it is treated as an integral part of the country. Thus, if the people in a contested region have full citizenship, have access to all resources as other citizens and enjoys all their rights, that region cannot be reasonably be deemed a colony. There may be civil rights issues (which even this country has), but not issues of political self determination. India, Africa, and South East Asia were colonies because the host nations (U.K., France, Germany etc.) never did or could offer people in the colonies full U.K., French, or German “citizenship” – with full rights of a normal British, French, and German. The economies were set up to serve the host nation (in the case of China, the central government has poured money in, not extracted wealth out). The many regions of India that want to secede today – even if they ultimately succeed – is not really a “colony” of New Delhi or “India” in general for the same reasons.

    In case you are interested, here is a link to a paper by Barry Sautman (a Professor in Hong Kong) on his assessment on whether Tibet is a “colony” of China – as measured along many factors that are usually considered to be associated with colonialism (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Sautman-2006-Colonialism-Genocide-Tibet.pdf).

  16. Lime
    April 17th, 2012 at 17:39 | #16

    @Allen
    I’m not advocating “a division of polities along a reductio ad absurdum based on some bigoted, narrow lens such as ethnicity and religion”. If you reread my comment, I’m actually saying just about the opposite.

    I know I have argued against Chinese control of Tibet before, but, to be honest with you, I’ve more or less given that up as a result of my discussions with you and others. Saying the argument can be destroyed using a “reductio ad absurdum” method is not a criticism of the pro-Chinese Tibet stance, it’s an admission of the futility of the Tibetan independence arguments. I’ve come to believe that anyone making the argument for Tibetan independence has to use a very narrow, and perhaps “bigoted” set of standards, which will almost always be proven to be double standards if the issue is pressed. Or more commonly, an attack on the CCP’s right to rule Tibet will actually turn out to be a disguised attack on the CCP’s right to rule at all, Tibet merely being used as an apparent weak point.

    My comment here wasn’t about Tibet though. I was using Tibet merely for comparison.

    You said (in number 9) “Of course, fighting and brutality per se does not necessarily lead to progress; they may only mean perpetuation of a cycle of violence. But at least the people are free to evolve, to determine their fate”, and “From the perspective of the North, once America gets off the peninsula, the two Koreas can quickly reunify. The Korean people will be truly free again.”

    It sounds like you’re very much putting the nation ahead of the inhabitants. If the imposition of foreign control or foreign hegemony on a people reduces brutality, allows them to lead longer, happier, materially better off lives, wouldn’t that be more important for them as inhabitants than just having a “native” ruler? Would an end to American influence in South Korea and reunification under the North (if that is what you mean) benefit anything or anyone except except the North Korean rulers and the interests of Korean ethnic-nationalism? Likewise would a hypothetical new Syrian government under the heavy influence of the US and other NATO powers necessarily be worse than Bashar Al-Assad for the lowest classes of Syria trying to make lives for themselves? Do you see my comparison to the arguments for Tibetan independence?

    @Jxie
    Sorry I didn’t respond to your number 7 comment, but I think you misinterpreted my comment there. I was not advocating the overthrow of any regime, I was just disputing Joyce Lau’s suggestion that it might be possible by flooding a country with aid.

    To your number 14, ideally I suppose you would want full and equal citizenship in the state. That said however, in the case of many medieval and early modern European countries, just because you were a native of the home country didn’t guarantee you the right to marry whoever you wanted or move up the social class. Basically, my point is that a brutal regime is a brutal regime is a brutal regime, and being a full citizen is no guarantee your life will be any better off. For example, I think I would rather be an ethnic-Chinese person living in the Hongkong of the 1950s and 1960s than living in mainland China. I might even rather be an ethnic-Chinese person living in Hongkong at that time period than a British subject living in Britain.

  17. jxie
    April 17th, 2012 at 19:02 | #17

    @Lime

    I think I would rather be an ethnic-Chinese person living in the Hongkong of the 1950s and 1960s than living in mainland China. I might even rather be an ethnic-Chinese person living in Hongkong at that time period than a British subject living in Britain.

    At a micro level, your choice certainly has its merits. However at a macro level, let’s conduct this thought experiment. Let’s in 1950 port 150 million random mainland Chinese and replace the Americans then with them — the Chinese will have all of what the Americans had, the roads, the buildings, the factories, the military wares, etc., even let’s throw in the constitution and the legal system for good measure, will the new America still be the America? Hardly. On average Chinese then was 15% literate.

    Was Mao a brutal dictator, or was China a brutal regime in the 50s/60s? At least I won’t say no. However, Mao just represented everything in China leading up to that point. Had Chinese been not so dirt poor, and better educated at the turn of the 20th century, Mao would have been brought up differently (he had no more the equivalent of HS education with a combination of home school and a few years of former education).

    Long story short, my take is that unless China became much better educated, living in the world in the past century or so being extremely cruel, I don’t see a simple replacement of a leader or a party, would’ve made China less brutal.

  18. Lime
    April 17th, 2012 at 21:57 | #18

    @Jxie
    In general I agree with you. China could not have become a first world state overnight, and considering how ravaged the society was after the Second World War and the civil war, it’s even remarkable how well off China is today. That said, I think the Chinese could have done a bit better than Mao. There have been very poor countries with very poor education levels that have managed to avoid Great Leaps Forward and Red Guards and the like.

  19. April 18th, 2012 at 01:16 | #19

    @Lime

    It sounds like you’re very much putting the nation ahead of the inhabitants. If the imposition of foreign control or foreign hegemony on a people reduces brutality, allows them to lead longer, happier, materially better off lives, wouldn’t that be more important for them as inhabitants than just having a “native” ruler? Would an end to American influence in South Korea and reunification under the North (if that is what you mean) benefit anything or anyone except except the North Korean rulers and the interests of Korean ethnic-nationalism? Likewise would a hypothetical new Syrian government under the heavy influence of the US and other NATO powers necessarily be worse than Bashar Al-Assad for the lowest classes of Syria trying to make lives for themselves? Do you see my comparison to the arguments for Tibetan independence?

    I do see your point, in an abstract sense. This reminds me of a conversation I had with one of our fellow bloggers here in 2008. At the time I noted: every argument we make for sovereignty can be twisted to be made for secession of any groups of peoples. At a high enough level of abstraction, it is the same.

    You bring up the same point here.

    For me, talking about international politics is not about choosing any level of abstraction you want. The nation state is the traditional and appropriate level at which to apply the notion of self determination – not any other. I think I have pointed out numerous times already on this blog. Thus when people talk about self determination of “peoples” – I apply it at the level of nation state – which maps to traditional notions of sovereignty – upon which most important international laws – including UN – is founded.

    Some argue that “peoples” in this context should normatively map to groups smaller than the nation – to some linguistic, cultural, ethnic, religious groups. They might even argue – normatively – that doing so lead to higher overall happiness, better human welfare. I disagree. The costs of division do not outweigh the cost of unity. Again I also argue that on normative grounds.

    Others take the notion of self determination to apply to even smaller groups, where liberatarians would the general notion of self determination to map to individuals and fight for maximal individual liberty. Depending on your political inclination, you might argue for self determination of classes, gender. On the geographic level, perhaps a particular town would benefit to self rule, perhaps a county, perhaps a mountain range of tribes, perhaps a clan.

    All this talk is really beyond the scope of international politics; it goes to the notion of a social contract. Why must I give my personal sovereignty – or this groups sovereignty (depending on political inclination again, you define the group by whatever “normative” criterion you want) to some existing sovereign?

    Some have asked me this question – again in the abstraction (not tied to any reality): if for argument’s sake, some groups of people – some class, some individuals, some ethnic groups, etc. – can be made better off at the expense of some larger groups, should that smaller class be made better off?

    I answered that all things being equal, I argue for a solution that maximizes some total well being (does that mean world happiness? Overall happiness of China? Or overall happiness of people of certain ethnicity? Of people residing in Tibet proper? Or some other totality?). Of course, that per is may not be just – as distributive issues do matter, not just maximal well being. But what’s the proper distribution?

    I have noted that whatever the just solution, no one on international politics does anything based on maximizing global welfare anyways. Certainly not colonialism… (going back to the starting point of this discussion). It’s always about interests of nations or groups of nations. That’s why even on something as basic as global environment, we bicker…

    Of course, arguments aside, we also disagree on the facts. Does division upon division really lead to general welfare?

    So going back to your question: I point out that my argument for independence of Syria, or Lybia -or non interference of China – that issues in Tibet constitute domestic issues, of civil rights – is based on my worldview. I concede that readily.

  20. Lime
    April 18th, 2012 at 04:10 | #20

    @Allen
    Well, I have to hand it you; you make an articulate case for nationalism in abstraction. No small feat in my mind. Once again we’ll have to accept the differences of our world views, but I would like to say I appreciate your polite and direct responses.

  21. April 18th, 2012 at 15:06 | #21

    @Lime

    Likewise, I thank you for being respectful and articulate on this blog.

    I do want to clarify though that what I say above does not mean per se that groups within nations do not have a right to seek greater rights – either at the individual or group level. I am neutral whether we need to protect merely individual rights or maybe even be conscious about group rights.

    I am not even per se rigid in my belief that no groups should ever be disallowed from seeking more self determination or even seceding from a nation.

    What I am saying is that politics is messy, and that there are domestic affairs of independent sovereigns. If China decides to break up because of internal forces, so be it. But whether it does so or not, it’s up to the Chinese people up as a whole to decide – and no one else.

  22. pug_ster
    June 21st, 2012 at 10:10 | #22

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.htm

    From NY times, CIA steering arms to Syrian Rebels. Why am I not surprised?

  23. Charles Liu
    June 21st, 2012 at 14:09 | #23

    @pug_ster

    Great, training and arming the next Osama Bin Ladin already. See for yourself what the Free Syrian Army really is:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/11/al-qaida-syria-william-hague

  24. pug_ster
    June 21st, 2012 at 19:23 | #24

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i1GQYKnP0c&list

    The US government just have no morals at all, doesn’t give a damn about people dying in Syria as long as Assad is removed from power. Al Qaeda forcing people to fight with against Assad or they will kill their families, yet the thugs running the American government believe they are freedom fighters.

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